Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Processing The RAW

Photographers in the digital age are inundated with software so Digital Photo Pro talked to the experts to get the ins and outs on two of the most popular RAW processing packages on the market

Feature Highlights

In addition to the multitude of editing and management functions available with Capture 4 through 4.1, such as ±2 EV Exposure Compensation, Unsharp Mask, Tone Compensation, White Balance, Hue and Saturation, Curves, Color Balance, Noise Reduction, Vignette Control, Batch Processor, RGB Information Display, and more, Capture 4.2 introduces several remarkable new features that further enhance your capabilities.

Full Power Of NEF Support. Capture supports all NEF files from Nikon digital SLR cameras, including the latest Nikon D2x camera.

Message Center communicates directly with Nikon in order to keep users current with the latest software and firmware updates.

The New Histogram Tool operation allows clicking anywhere on an image to create a Curve Set Point on the histogram display.

The New Noise Reduction Filter provides an easy and effective way to reduce noise that can sometimes occur in the highest ISO and longest exposures.

Image Straightening for images that have an obvious tilt to them. This allows you to correct ±3 degrees to make your images perfectly level.

D-Lighting™ enables adjusting of poorly exposed NEF, TIFF and JPEG images for improved exposure and contrast range; images you might otherwise have discarded can be recovered and salvaged. The D-Lighting editor even lets you choose the threshold between bright and dark, enabling customization of its operation and providing you with more versatility.

The New Multi-Image Window lets you view a single row or multiple rows of image thumbnails across the top of the editing window for efficient workflow. Making multiple selections and applying batch editing is fast and efficient.

LCH Editor for adjusting lightness, chroma and hue. The LCH Editor models color using three components: Luminosity (lightness), Chroma (color saturation, or vividness) and Hue; each component has its own edit display. The Luminosity channel and the Chroma channel are represented by curves, which can be edited in much the same way as the tone curves in the Tone Curve palette. Steeping the luminosity curve increases the difference between bright and dark portions of the image, increasing contrast. Steeping the chroma curve increases color saturation, making colors more vivid. The Hue channel features unique controls for unparalleled flexibility when editing colors. Using this tool, a specific range of input colors can be mapped to another range of output colors (Figure 6).

The Color Booster palette can automatically adjust the saturation value optimized for a portrait or landscape. Portrait adjusts saturation of the image as a whole without changing the person's complexion; landscape adjusts saturation of all colors in the image.

Image Dust Off offers a solution to the inevitable appearance of dust on your image sensor. First, prior to shooting, make a Dust Reference Image (DRI). It's automatic with the new Nikon D2x, D2h and D70 cameras; with other select Nikon digital SLR models, Nikon offers a manual process. Later, if you discover objectionable dust in your images, Capture's Image Dust Off will eliminate it.

Tethered Remote Operation with Capture Camera Control allows you to fire your camera from your computer via an IEEE-1394 connection with the Nikon D1-series models, USB 1.1 with the D100 and USB 2.0 with the D2x, D2h and D70 cameras.

The new D2x with its optional wireless transmitter, WT-2A, also will provide completely wireless remote control! With either wireless or tethered operation, you can remotely adjust nearly every setting—including ISO, exposure mode, shutter speeds, aperture, firing speed, autofocus sensor, contrast, color, tonality, sharpness, white balance and more. You also can build your own custom hue and tone adjustment settings into tethered digital SLR cameras as a preset for “untethered use.”

Auto-Save allows a computer connected to the camera to transfer images to another computer or a server's local area network (LAN) without a hardwire connection.

nik Color Efex 2.0 photographic filters can be added to Capture and offer features and functionality designed to make digital photographic enhancements both easier and better. The filters can be applied to 16-bit color images for maximum image quality (Figure 7).

Together, NEF and Capture 4.2 offer maximum power to adjust and manage your digital images from capture to archive.

Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.

Steve Heiner is the Digital SLR product manager at Nikon USA. In his career as a professional photographer, Heiner was a newspaper photojournalist as well as a pro rep for Nikon Professional Services.


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